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CA: Democrats, Get Your Calculators Ready

By Robert Barnes
California Democrats: Calculators ready? Deciding who wins how many delegates tonight will not be for the faint of heart.

Bob Mulholland of the California Democratic Party tries to help out.

Delegates will be awarded proportionally to candidates who receive at least 15 percent of the vote in each congressional district -- the easy part here is that that will be either Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama. But here comes the math.

Two congressional districts will each award three delegates. Twenty-six districts will award four delegates. Nineteen will allocate five delegates, and six districts -- the most Democratic in the past presidential election -- each award six delegates.

In the districts with an odd number of delegates, the candidate with the most votes will get the most delegates. But in the districts with four delgates, a candidate must get more than 62.5 percent of the vote to avoid simply splitting the delegates. In districts with six delegates, the magic number is more than 58.33 percent of the vote.

And don't think you can figure it out just by looking at the vote totals. Mulholland explains:

Under the DNC rules,the percentages must be recalculated by eliminating all candidates who receive less than 15 percent of the vote.

Votes Percentage
Candidate A 53 53.0%

Candidate B 44 44.0%

Others 3 3.0%

You add 53 + 44 = 97

Divide 53/97 = 54.464% (real %)

Divide 44/97 = 45.536% ( " )

An additional 129 delegates will be allocated by statewide percentages.

Republicans make it easier on math-challenged reporters.

The winner in each congressional district gets three delegates. The statewide winner gets an additional 11 delegates.

By Washington Post editors  |  February 5, 2008; 4:30 PM ET
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